The Cove in Taiji, Japan – What Would Dolphins Do?

by Joe Noonan on September 18, 2011

Ho’oponopono Ceremony at The Cove in Taiji, Japan, with holy water from sacred springs around the world.

I love dolphins and am involved in a number of projects to help them. (Do the dolphins really need our help, or is it the other way around….)

Right now the annual dolphin hunting season has resumed in Japan, and emotions are running high for animal lovers around the world.

Its easy to be angry at someone who kills something you love, and having been to ‘The Cove’ and seen the waters run red with the blood of dolphins, I know firsthand the initial flush of rage and righteousness.

But this righteousness comes with a price…

This blog post is not just about dolphins…. as the dolphins dying in the cove have shown me, this is about our judgment of the actions of others, how quick we are to condemn those who break our hearts or our rules of how things should be…

The dolphins showed me something that I did not expect; they showed me compassion, compassion for all people, even those who kill them.

That’s a rather saintly attitude to me, even more evidence of their elevated spiritual stature. Yup, I place dolphins above humans when it comes to awareness, wisdom, playfulness and loving compassion. They inspire me, they are my heroes.

So much so that, last January, as I watched the dolphin hunters drive pods of dolphins into the cove for sale and for slaughter, I opened my heart to the pain and sadness and anger and let it break…

It hurt…

I cried, felt the riotous confusion of feelings we all feel when faced with the death of that which we love…

And in those moments of broken-heartedness, something happened…

As I gave myself fully to the pain and anger and sorrow, let them run havoc through me, tearing and hurting and destroying, I became aware of something else, something quiet and subtle in the background, something bigger than the destruction happening within and around me…

It was not a conscious act, it was not something I could summon or evoke, it was something that I could simply notice, and in the noticing, allow…

It was compassion, and its love encompassed me and the hunters and the dolphins, and it showed me that we are all actors upon the same stage. Different costumes for sure, but undeniably the same cast.

It showed me that we are all one, and the drama playing out before me was the blink of an eye in creation, each actor playing their part so fully they believed them to be true…

Except for the dolphins. They remembered, they knew the greater truth… That they and all of this is but a moment in infinity, and they are free and eternal as is all life…

I came to understand how the dolphins could both struggle to be free of the nets at the same time they surrender into the arms of the fishermen who kill them…

They know what we have forgotten…

Total aliveness, total compassion, complete surrender.

My humanness stood in awe, and in that moment I remembered that we are all eternal, all actors, spiritual beings having human (and dolphin) experiences…

The hatred melted in the warm flood of compassion, my righteousness along with it. Yes it still hurts to see the death of those I love, and my tears are just as real as before. But they are tempered with a greater knowing, a knowing that I once again thank my cetacean friends for helping reveal within me…

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Kayla October 18, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Beautiful post Joe. Big thank you to Becky for sending me here.


Joe Noonan October 18, 2011 at 7:01 pm

Hi Kayla!

Welcome to the pod! Glad you enjoyed the post; it was a transformational experience for me..


Mary November 4, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Beautiful post Joe. I’ve followed the regular updates from the Dolphin group about the ongoing activities in The Cove and although I was upset and nauseous at the pictures and the activities I was never angry at the men involved and couldn’t understand why, feeling that something was wrong with me. After reading your article I now understand why I had the feelings I did. Thank you so much for putting into words what I could feel but couldn’t explain.
Is there a way we can each personally help these dolphins transcend after such a horrific experience or do we just hold loving space for them and their captors?


Joe Noonan November 7, 2011 at 4:19 pm

Hi Mary!
How cool that you’ve been unable to get angry at the fishermen!
Personally, I send the whole situation a whole lotta light, and let the spiritual energies that are intimately involved figure out how to apply it. Have used that approach for similar situations for years and it feels like the best course of action.

So yes, I hold loving space for all involved. Glad to have you involved, you add a lot of love and light to the situation! 🙂


Ewa Nordstrom December 15, 2011 at 9:53 pm

It almost broke my heart to read this i diden’t know that fisherman hunts and kills Dolphins. Tears is running down my face and I just hope and pray this will end very soon. Thanks Joe for your compassion for the Beloved Dolphins, and I can’t find words to explain how I feel after reading this.
But Yes you are right Love & Light is the only thing.
Have to remember we are all One.


Joe Noonan December 21, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Hi Ewa,

Yes it is hard to see them being hunted for food, and yes, it is an invitation to be in our hearts and see the whole situation (and all of LIFE!) from a more transpersonal view; we are all eternal beings having a temporary earthly (or oceanic) experience! 🙂


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